I enjoyed every minute we spent in Peru, but our time in the Amazon was particularly special. Kate, Jill and I took the overnight bus from Trujillo back to Lima, then flew to Iquitos, which is where you take the boat into the jungle. (You pass through a market on your way to the dock, and our guide pointed out a stall selling weevil shishkebabs. Needless to say, I had no wish to linger.)
We were trying to decide between two tour operators the night before we left, one kinda slick and touristy but with whom we knew more what to expect, and in the end we went (and were really happy) with the alternative, Otorongo Expeditions. The jungle lodge is really quaint and peaceful and comfortable, the owners and staff are fantastic (especially Oscar, our guide), every meal was vegetarian-friendly and thoroughly delicious, and we saw amazing wildlife on every excursion. We can't recommend Otorongo highly enough.
Taking the (usually horse-powered) sugar cane press for a spin at the rum factory on our way to the lodge. Afterwards we got a taste test, and as you can see Kate didn't like it as much as I did:
Below: the walkway between the dining and guest rooms at the lodge; the resident macaws; dragon's blood, good for all sorts of skin ailments; breadfruit.
Swaying in the hammock room at the lodge listening to all those layers of sound coming from the forest around us—the calls of birds, insects, frogs, and monkeys—oh, it was one of the most tranquil experiences of my life!
Next post: wildlife photos!